She’s My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher

09 May 2012

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She’s…My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.

--Cardinal Mermillod 

Just a few more months. My mother was hoping Dad would hang on long enough so they could celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary in April. But on January 1st, as the sun rose on the new year, my dad’s worn out heart beat its last. Dad had battled Alzheimer’s Disease for ten years. As many of you know, AD is a long, hard journey. Hard on the one afflicted with the disease, hard on the caregivers.

But not without its blessings.

Four years ago, as I began researching stories for Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, my path crossed with a handful of Plain families who were coping with Alzheimer’s. It was just about the point when Dad’s illness was shifting from early to mid stages AD and the timing was a divine accident. I learned so much as I observed the calm acceptance of these families. Rather than waste time shaking a fist at God for allowing this disease to take their loved one, they put their energy into trusting God’s sovereignty. They didn’t deny the difficulties and complications and sadness of Alzheimer’s, but they didn’t dwell on them. “God has a plan,” one woman told me. “He always has a plan.”  

Something else I noticed was how privileged my Amish friends felt about caring for their loved one. Caring for the elderly, they believe, is the time to give back to them.

Those encounters shaped my perspective of Dad’s illness. I started to pay attention to how God provided answers to new wrinkles created by Alzheimer’s, just in time. God may be slow, but He is never late.
I started to cherish special moments or good days with Dad—just as he was at each point in his illness. Not mourning the past, not dreading the future.

I really miss my dad. I miss his scratchy whiskers and the way his eyebrows would wiggle at us, even as words failed him. Yet I have such peace in my heart that he was well loved and well cared for, right to the very end. And as hard as Dad’s end of life has been, it isn’t the end. We will meet again. As the saying goes, “Some may see a hopeless end, but as believers we rejoice in an endless hope.”

There’s a beautiful story that illustrates my parents’ 59-year marriage. This event happened about a year or two ago. My sister had accompanied our mother to the doctor appointment for Dad at the Stanford Memory Clinic.

Dad had declined quite a bit that month. He was weak and lethargic, even to the point of whispering, as if it took too much energy to project his voice. During the doctor's appointment, the doctor told my mother and sister that Dad was now in late stages of Alzheimer's. Dad didn’t have much vocabulary left, but when the doctor asked him who mom was, he whispered something back. The doctor looked at Mom and asked, "Did you hear what he just said?"

Mom shook her head.

"When I asked him who you were, he whispered, 'She' everything.'"


Suzanne Woods Fisher is a writer of bestselling fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program on, and writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post. Suzanne can be found on-line at

Re-printed with permission by Cooking & Such,

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Landscaping with Drift Roses ~Guest Post~

People have a love affair with roses. The rose is a representation of love and beauty and many people are now choosing to grow their own roses in their yards. One type of rose that is in high demand is the drift rose. The high demand for drift roses has led to new drift roses being created.

Drift roses offer a special niche in the market of shrub roses. A drift rose is a cross between miniature roses and ground cover roses. The miniature aspect of the drift rose gives it the repeat blooming nature, as well as an easy to manage size. The ground cover rose offers winter hardiness, disease resistance and an overall toughness. Drift roses have a low spreading habit that makes them the perfect fit for a small flower garden or in a combination planter.

Colors of Drift Roses

The first colors of drift roses that were available were red, pink, coral and peach. Of all of these colors, pink has been evaluated to be the best performer in a landscaping situation. The pink drift roses were followed by peach, then coral and finally red when it comes to performance. There are a few new colors that have just been released, but they have not yet been evaluated.

The new colors of drift roses include several lovely options. Apricot offers a brilliant show of double apricot blooms for amazing color in the landscape. Reminiscent of a light snowfall, Icy provides a show of delicate double blooms that are pure white. Finally, Sweet Drift Roses display clear pink double blooms, almost as if the lips of little cherubs have kissed your landscape.

All of the drift roses available have blooming habits that typically continue from the spring until the first hard frost of the fall. The versatility of drift roses and the wide range of colors available provide gardeners with a brilliant plant that can be used in any type of landscape situation, including in containers.

Drift Roses Offer Multiple Blooms Cycles

Many gardeners don’t realize that drift roses have about five cycles of blooms per year. The peak blooms are the April spring bloom and the October fall bloom. However, the second or summer bloom is typically quite impressive as well. This notable quality makes the drift rose a wonderful addition to add color to the landscape with little effort.

Drift roses should be planted in a landscape bed that has been well prepared. They can be used to fill in spaces in order to give your landscape color throughout the year. The drift rose is fairly easy to care for and not at all finicky. They can grow to be about two to three feet tall and two to three feet wide. They are the perfect choice for the beginning landscaper or the busy homeowner who wants an easy to care for plant.